Live In London
Release date: 21-Apr-2015
Label: Tuohi Records
Catalog #: THC-002
In October of 2014, fresh off her most acclaimed recording to date, Finnish blues standout Erja Lyytinen rolled into London’s iconic 100 Club for an evening of live music. At her side, a crack band featuring long-time musical partner Davide Floreno, bassist Roger Inniss and drummer Miri Miettinen. After three years as a touring unit, the band was on full form. The groove, artistry and undeniable power of their performance on that famed stage has been captured on the CD/ DVD twin-pack called Live in London.
With a colorful history that goes back to 1942, the 100 Club is considered the oldest independent music venue in the world. During that time, a who’s who of blues and rock’n’roll legends including Muddy Waters, B.B. King, The Who and The Clash have entertained audiences there. It’s also played host to “secret shows” by the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Metallica and others. For Lyytinen, however, a pair of concerts by American blues legend Son House – recorded at the 100 Club in the summer of 1970 and later released as Delta Blues and Spirituals – stand out above the rest. “He’s one of my big favorites, and when I first heard that recording years back, I didn’t expect I would someday be on the same stage as he had been!”
She opens her set with an a cappella tribute to another Delta Blues giant, Fred McDowell, then gets things rolling with the help of the band on her own grooving “Let It Shine.” The next two cuts are by Elmore James and offer listeners a first taste of her 2014 studio release The Sky Is Crying. A high-spirited and technically brilliant tribute to James, the album earned high honors at home (voted Best Album of 2014 by Finland’s YLE Radio Suomi ‘Bluesministeri’) and abroad (selected as one of top three international albums of 2014 by the writers of Britain’s Blues Matters magazine).
The performance progresses with an impressive block of original material: The shuffling “Everything’s Fine” is driven by Inniss and Miettinen’s strong and steady groove, while “Hold On Together” provides the framework for an all-out guitar duel between Lyytinen and Floreno.
Three more Elmore James titles – including a stunning seven-minute version of “The Sky Is Crying” – allow Erja to show off the full depth of her slide-playing abilities, but also turn the spotlight on Floreno, who proves that the band is more than just a one-gal show. For her part, Lyytinen stays away from slavishly copying Elmore James, instead offering a respectful but fresh and decidedly female take on his classic material.
For most of us, London is not around the corner. And though Erja Lyytinen tours extensively throughout Europe and North America, there are a few places she hasn’t reached yet. The striking sounds and vivid colors of Live in London give listeners and viewers the opportunity to experience this unique musical talent and her able supporters up close and personal.